Well, unfortunately for all Australians in the not so distant future, you won’t have a choice. As many people are aware the National Broadband Network is rolling out across our land and has been doing so for some time. This means, not long after you’ve been connected your existing ADSL internet service and phone line will be disconnected. Some Australian’s are not happy about making this switch and are reporting slower speeds than they had previously with their old broadband internet connection.
Grab a cup of tea and have a read to learn a little more about the different NBN connections and why you may not be getting the speed you paid for.
FTTP – Fibre to the premises
FTTP connects using Ethernet over a gigabit passive optical network (GPON) from the POI (Points of Interconnect) to the premises. Initially the preferred technological solution, it is now an option for greenfield development with limited use for new or replacement connections. In short, the fastest possible connection.
FTTN – Fibre to the node
With FTTN, the NBN fibre runs straight to a cabinet, called a node, in your neighbourhood, and then connects the surrounding premises from the node using the existing copper network.
FTTB – Fibre to the building
Fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) is a similar technology that NBN often groups in with FTTN, but the fibre is run to a central location in an apartment complex.
FTTC – Fibre to the curb
Optical fibre cable is run past each home or business, and is connected to the existing copper lines of each home or business via a small Distribution Point Unit usually located near the driveway of the premises and are powered by the respective home or business.
HFC – Hybrid fibre-coaxial
Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection is used in circumstances where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be used to make the final part of the NBN network connection. In this circumstance an HFC line will be run from the nearest available fibre node, to your premises.
A fixed wireless connection is typically used in circumstances where the distance between premises can be many kilometres. In this circumstance data travels from a transmission tower located as much as 14kms from a premise to a rooftop antenna that has been fitted by the NBN.
Two Sky Muster satellites provide NBN services to locations outside the reach of other technologies, including Christmas Island, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
So now we know the different connections being rolled out by the NBN. You’ve picked your plan and it’s all connected. So why when you run a speedtest is it slower than before?! Well, chances are it’s because of your connection type and one or more of the reasons below.
If your home is connected to the NBN using Fibre to the Node technology, the distance that your house is from the node can make a huge difference in the speed and performance of your service. NBN estimates that about 90% of homes should be within 700m of the nearest node, but even at this distance the signal over the old copper wires can degrade quite a bit.
This is referred to as attenuation and it was one of the key reasons why many people experienced slow ADSL2+ speeds as well. Basically, a house sitting next to the node will get a great speed, while houses further away will experience this attenuation and slower speeds. See below for an indicative illustration of what attenuation looks like.
The greater the distance from the node, the slower the maximum speed achievable.
To make matter worse, it can be difficult to find out exactly which node your home connects to and the distance it is from your front door. This makes it hard to estimate the connection you should expect and the speed tier that would be best for you.
Similar issues apply to Fixed Wireless and Satellite NBN connections. There is no node in these connections, but there are a number of technological obstacles between your home and the greater internet, so you may find that there are hard limits on what sort of performance you can expect from your connection.
Congestion (Contention ratios)
This is something you’ve probably heard about. When people discuss slow NBN speeds they tend to point the finger at their Netflix-loving neighbours, and kids on YouTube after school.
NBN charges ISPs a base fee of around $15.25 per Mbps per month, which can go as low as $8 per Mbps per month under volume discounts.*
If you look at Telstra, which will often charge over $100 for a 100Mbps NBN connection**, the company would need to spend a minimum of $800 per month to facilitate those speeds under NBN’s new pricing structure, not counting other costs associated with providing access to the National Broadband Network.
Obviously, Telstra isn’t spending $800 per customer, and as such, if too many Telstra subscribers are online simultaneously, none of them get the speeds they are paying for.
Being a relatively small internet service provider especially in comparison with the big guns, Telstra, Optus & TPG, we don’t have as many customers for you to compete with. In fact, with an Interphone NBN connection you can count the number of users on one hand that you’re sharing your connection with.
You’re paying for a slower speed tier
This might seem like a dumb suggestion, but one of the potential reasons for slower than expected NBN speeds could be the plan you’re on. There are four different NBN speed tiers, ranging from 12Mbps to 100Mbps. If you’re on a cheaper plan, there’s a chance you’re on a 12Mbps or 25Mbps connection. Have you ever noticed all the billboards and busses with ISP’s all competing with $59.95 NBN plans? Don’t forget to look at the fine print which we can guarantee reads 12Mbps (roughly the same as what you would achieve with an ADSL broadband connection). Fortunately, an Interphone NBN connection always provides the fastest possible speed your line will handle.
Basic connection issues
Rolling out a nationwide broadband network is no easy task. Many of the complaints that the TIO is fielding relate to good old-fashioned incompetence, delays and faulty equipment. With millions of homes and businesses to connect, there are bound to be errors. Thousands and thousands of them. As they say, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Not that you should accept a faulty connection, but with a project of this scale, it is best to exercise a little patience.